First, let me start by saying this is my first post on my first blog! I am excited to share with my readers the information that I acquire while I start my journey through my marine life. I plan to major in marine biology in college then become a marine mammal veterinarian. Even if that doesn’t work out, I want to do anything marine science related! I am going to post to this blog interesting information I learn about the marine world, pictures and stories of other people who were captivated, and the latest information on new studies for whales, reefs, and every creature in the sea!
Now, Enough about me, let’s get to the business. Most of you have probably already seen the movie Dolphin Tale about the dolphin Winter who lost her tail in a crab trap and got a new prosthetic one with the help of marine biologists and a prosthetic doctor. (If you want to see Winter in a live webcam, click here.
Winter isn’t the only whale who is being helped through technology usually reserved to humans! 300, one of two pilot whales that Seaworld took in from a disaster in Cudjoe Key where 23 of these whales beached themselves, has been given a back brace for her scoliosis! She developed scoliosis after she was rescued. Note- scoliosis is a curvature of the spine and it has effected 300’s swimming. Seaworld brought in Dr. Philip Meinhardt, an orthopedic spine surgeon to develop a back brace for the whale.
Just as in the movie, Dolphin Tale, the silicone normally used with prosthetics on humans irritates 300’s skin. Instead, Dr. Meinhardt used foam which also helped with buoyancy and maneuverability. Seaworld is doing physical therapy with 300 three times a day in hopes that in three or four months she will not need the brace and her swimming will be back to normal. To read more about 300, click here.
Most people would think techniques such as prosthetics and back braces would only work on humans. It gives me hope to know that anything is possible when it comes to rehabilitating and saving these whales and dolphins! The future for marine study is bright thanks to doctors and veterinarians like Dr. Meinhardt and Dr. Gearheart (Who worked with 300) and Dr. Carroll (Who worked with Winter.)
Want to see a veterinarian at Seaworld, Dr. Gearheart talk about 300? Click here.